Career scientists need to be able to manage projects, students, postdocs, staff and, ultimately, a scientific team. We suggest that junior scientists should routinely be trained in such leadership skills to maximize the productivity of their future research groups (see also J. C. Seeliger Nature 483, 511; 2012).

Unfortunately, many scientists fail to realize that they need training, and there are only a few leadership programmes on offer. One is the three-day 'Leadership in BioScience' workshop for young investigators held annually by the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York (see Through lectures, role-playing exercises, case studies and discussions, participants learn and practise skills such as setting goals, delivering feedback, running successful meetings and managing conflict or difficult situations that can arise in the laboratory. Training is consolidated with detailed constructive feedback from instructors and other participants.

More such programmes should be developed to help junior faculty members in academic institutions worldwide.